Dearl Sanders, Reed, Donald P., Morgan, Johnny W. | 9/24/2007 11:19:19 PM
With this year’s dove season in full swing, LSU AgCenter faculty hope past wildlife field days and workshops will decrease the number of citations written this year.
LSU AgCenter wildlife specialist Dr. Don Reed said the use of federal fish and wildlife special agents and Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries enforcement officials has raised the awareness of hunters to the issues involved with hunting doves over baited fields.
"By bringing in speakers from these agencies and actually setting up baited fields at our field days and showing participants what these areas look like, a big impact has been made on attendees," Reed said.
He said so far this fall, three of these AgCenter programs have been conducted in Welsh, Lafayette and Calhoun. In past years, the programs were conducted at the Bob Jones Idlewild Research Station near Clinton and at the Dean Lee Research and Extension Center near Alexandria.
At these field days, AgCenter personnel also are on hand to explain the "normal" agricultural practices that must be followed to legally hunt migratory birds such as doves over any planted areas.
Dr. Dearl Sanders, LSU AgCenter professor and resident director at the Bob Jones Idlewild Research Station, said a baited field is one where taking grain is taken off a field and then brought back to lure birds.
Reed said, "It’s only natural that when more hunters are aware of the facts of what constitutes a baited field, the majority will try to do the right thing."
Lt. Colonel Keith LaCaze of the state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries said, "Unfortunately, the people we write citations for baiting, in most cases, are not the type to attend seminars and try and do things the right way."
Reed said in Louisiana an estimated 40,500 dove hunters take advantage of the two hunting zones: one in the north and the other in the south. He said each zone has three seasons.
The opening date for both zones was September 1, with a second split opening date set for October 13. The north zone opens with the third split on December 15 and south zone opens with the third split on December 22.
"In my opinion, the hunting has been fair this year. Here at the station, there were many more birds prior to the start of dove season in September. But as often happens, the birds will scatter to other areas prior to opening day due to food availability," Reed said.
For additional information about hunting laws involving the baiting of fields, contact Reed at (225) 683-5848 or email@example.com.